Two Muslim pupils at a Lancashire school have been put into “isolation” and banned from lessons after refusing to shave off their beards for religious reasons.
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington has said the two 14-year-olds are in breach of their dress code, which bans beards as well as false nails, fake tan, make-up, dyed hair and inappropriate jewellery.
But the boys’ families have said they are suffering discrimination because beards are a symbol of their faith and their religion forbids them to shave.
But the school has said it has concluded they are not required by the Quran to wear beards, and are therefore making a choice to do so. The school remains adamant they will not be allowed to go back until the matter is resolved.
Around a third of the 750 pupils at Mount Carmel are thought to be from ethnic minorities (mostly Pakistani) and it is being reported that talks between the families, teachers and the Lancashire Council of Mosques are due to take place today.
The issue of whether beards are compulsory for Muslims is open to interpretation, with some Muslim groups insisting it is compulsory and others saying it is highly recommended but not obligatory.
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